Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tropics come alive again

After being quiet for nearly two months, the tropics are active again.

Tropical Depression 5, which could become Tropical Storm Ernesto in a day or two, is moving westward on Thursday in the southern Atlantic. Its future is uncertain, but if the system survives a trek through hostile conditions in the eastern and central Caribbean, it could become a hurricane later.

The 2012 Atlantic/Caribbean tropical season started in a big way, with a pair of tropical storms forming in late May and early June near the Southeast coast. For the most part, it's been quiet since then.

Strong winds have blown a lot of Sahara Desert sand into the atmosphere over the Atlantic, and that has disrupted the formation of tropical systems.

TD5 managed to form a bit south of the dust and maintain some form of organization as it crossed the Atlantic.

The system could be torn apart by low-level wind shear during the next two or three days. But a number of computer models predict the system will survive the shear and intensify when it reaches more favorable conditions in the western Caribbean.

After that, it's anyone's guess.  Some of the more recent models take the storm into the Gulf of Mexico for landfall in Texas. I've seen other tracks that predict the storm would make a sharp curve to the northwest and toward landfall along the Florida-Alabama-Mississippi coast next week.

Regardless of what happens, TD5 is a reminder that the busiest portion of the tropical weather season is ahead.


Anonymous said...

Not that I wish the damage hurricanes can cause on anyone, but I hope this thing holds together just enough to be a major rain-maker that hits Texas and turns north. That part of the country is in dire need of rain. I wished the same thing on us each hurricane season from '07 to '09 while we were in that terrible drought. Some of my company's employees in the Midwest swear they wouldn't know what rain looked like if they saw it, it's been so long since they had any.